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#76560 - 06/20/02 10:34 PM Forgiveness
Ron_dup1 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 87
Loc: Arkansas
Hi I am a Christian and I am having a real problem with the issue of forgiveness. Each week at church we pray the Lord's Prayer. The part that says "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us" is really freaking me out. I simply cannot pray for God to forgive me the way I have forgiven others when I am unable or unwilling to forgive my abuser, my parents, or myself at this time.
I am not even sure I know what it would look like, feel like or result in if I were able to forgive. I don't think that forgiveness results in forgetting but I don't know how I can really forgive when I still remember and am still dealing with the effects of all they did to me.
Any advise from other Christians or anyone else would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Ron


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#76561 - 06/21/02 03:53 AM Re: Forgiveness
Ross Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/02
Posts: 34
Loc: Vancouver, BC Canada
Hi Ron I am Ross:

I was abused by Catholic Christian Brothers as a boy. I'm in my 40's now. I am a Christian.

I have no right to tell you what to do but I can share my experience with you.

I spent a good portion of my life totally enraged at the world. I was so angry at God I fired him on a regular basis. How could God allow such bad things to happen to me? I fought with my emotions and feelings for ages. I also hated myself in very deep way. I finally did forgive myself and those that hurt me. Oh yes, and God too. I actually rehired him to help me. How did I get there?

1. I began to see the futility of trying to make myself forgive myself and others. I had to let go of the rage, bit by bit. I had to let light flow from above.

2. For me as a survivor it took time and learning not to pressure myself for an instant change.

3. Forgiveness is not a replacement for justice. Forgiveness is a heart thing, inside me, between my heart and God. Justice is what abusers should get and it is ok to see to that or have others help to get justice.

4. My heart or true forgiveness of those that hurt me was more for me than them because it freed me from their abuse and allowed me to go on.

5. Just because I forgave them does not mean I have to hang out with them, spend a lot of thought on them or necessarily like them a whole lot.

6. It was ok for me to take my time with it. Like the green of summer or the rising up of the day it takes time to warm up to forgiving big things like abuse.

7. The day came when I knew I was really able to forgive myself. It was the start of a new life for me. I never did anything wrong really. I was a kid and some evil things happened that I could do nothing about.

I hope this helps you. Happy trails and God give you some peace!


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#76562 - 06/21/02 04:01 AM Re: Forgiveness
Ron_dup1 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 87
Loc: Arkansas
Ross
Thank you for the good words. I appreciate your sharing your story with me. I continue to work toward the peace that you talk about. I feel like it is crazy how everyone tells me it was not my fault and then in the next breath tells me to forgive myself! If I need to forgive myself then I must have done something wrong, right? Why else would I need forgiveness? Well thanks for your thoughts and for sharing your experiece.
Ron


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#76563 - 06/22/02 03:39 AM Re: Forgiveness
Ross Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/02
Posts: 34
Loc: Vancouver, BC Canada
Hi Ron: Good point in relation to forgiving self.

When I was growing up after the abuse I used to blame myself in that I felt I could have done something about it. I really hated that I was "so weak". I know that is not true but it was how I felt. I was also really torn about if I was gay or not, (not an attack on gays but a note on the times and my own issues), when I was growing up in the 60's-70's I was taught by my peers and my culture that being gay was really bad.

I also was really angry for years and hurt a lot of people with my extremes of behaviour. That is why I had to forgive myself.

Everyone of us sees things differently but I wanted to tell you how I felt and saw things around forgiveness.


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#76564 - 06/23/02 06:25 PM Re: Forgiveness
Ken Followell Offline
President
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 12/30/01
Posts: 990
Loc: Bradenton, FL
Ron & Ross

Like both of you, I am also a Christian. I have struggled with forgiveness as well. For myself I know that I must ask God for forgiveness and accept it for it to make any difference in my life. Maybe this is a cope out, but my perps have not asked to be forgiven, nor will they since they are now dead.

I don't wish bad things for them most of the time and am moving away from hatred. I might be in a place were I could give foregiveness if it was asked for, but I am not sure.

I know I don't want anyone to go through the pain I have endured and that does include them. Maybe that is as close to forgiveness as I can get.

Ken

_________________________
Ken Followell

Everything works out right in the end. If things are not working right, it isn't the end yet. Don't let it bother you, relax and keep on goin
- Michael C. Muhammad

"I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing."
� Rabbi Hillel

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#76565 - 06/24/02 01:45 AM Re: Forgiveness
Ross Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/02
Posts: 34
Loc: Vancouver, BC Canada
Hi Ken! Thanks for the note.

Sounds pretty darn good and fair to me. Hang in there brother. I believe it is possible to move on!

Take care and thanks!


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#76566 - 06/26/02 01:09 AM Re: Forgiveness
abcd Offline
Member

Registered: 10/20/00
Posts: 189
Loc: GA
Hello!

I haven't posted in ages, and to be honest, I'm not sure what your specific background is. So, take what I say with a grain of salt. As a Christian, I will say that I know what it is that you mean. For me, it did take some time to forgive even though I did want to mean what I say in the Lord's prayer. Ultimately, however...I think I have forgiven my abuser. It doesn't mean that I am not angry for what happened, but it does mean that I have let it go.

Now, what helped me initially though was to let all my frustrations out...to express what I felt (to pretend I was talking to my abuser and say everything that came in). There were many, many nights of tears to be sure, and even now, I still am feeling the effects of the abuse perhaps.
However, what also happened (I realized) is that God (who has always been there) has actually turned this abuse into something much better than it could have been. As a result, I have developed a stronger sense of empathy for others and a much stronger determination to live the "good Christian life". By looking at my abuse/abuser as somehow a "blessing in disguise" thanks to the grace of God, I have found myself easily forgiving my abuser.

Please do not misunderstand, I am not saying that it was good for any of us to be abused, all I am saying is that what was a horrible, horrible thing has been turned into something positive with God's grace. With that realization, I find myself hardly thinking about my abuser/abuse...sometimes, I even forget that I ever was.

So...my advice is this. Try to let your emotions and frustrations out when it comes to your abuser. Then, think about it and step back at how blessed you have been to have been a "survivor." Hmm...I don't know if that makes sense...regardless, I hope you'll find peace. Whatever you do, just don't give up. Eventually, you'll find that peace. \:\)


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#76567 - 06/26/02 01:23 AM Re: Forgiveness
Ron_dup1 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 87
Loc: Arkansas
abcd-
Your post makes perfect sense to me. Although I hate what happened to me and I hate the after effects that I still deal with today. I can no doubt see how the abuse has made me a stronger and dare I say better man by God's grace. I like the person I am today even though I don't like the things that happened along the way to make me the person I am.
Free will is a very tricky thing. I used to be so angry that God didn't stop the abuse that I couldn't see what God could do with that abuse to make me stronger. My free will was somehow hidden from me for a while because of my anger that my abuser used his free will to abuse me. While my abuser was free to decide to do those awful things to me. I am free to allow God to use those experiences to make me the best man I can possibly be.
In His Grace,
Ron


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#76568 - 06/27/02 02:55 AM Re: Forgiveness
Ron_dup1 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 87
Loc: Arkansas
Matt
I certainly understand when you say that it is hard for you to talk about God these days. I still have those days too. I choose to focus on the strength and comfort I find in my relationship with God today and not the questions I have about God's lack of ability or desire to change my situation back then. Some say it is a crutch, but I have experienced healing and freedom in Christ that was never there when I tried to go it alone.
As for the Heavenly Father language, I too choose not to use that language. I call God, God. That works for me because "God" does not conjure up negative images for me like "Father" does.
Hang in there and know that I said a prayer for you before I sent this post \:\)
Ron


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#76569 - 06/27/02 01:31 PM Re: Forgiveness
Ken Followell Offline
President
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 12/30/01
Posts: 990
Loc: Bradenton, FL
Ron and MA

I agree with you about the Heavenly Father and Family of God and such rhetoric. My father did not protect me from the perps and that image of ineffective does not serve me. My uncles abused me so I have no interest in more family.

God is God and the church is the church. Many peolpe don't understand that their images are not positive for everyone, but they are not.

Ken

_________________________
Ken Followell

Everything works out right in the end. If things are not working right, it isn't the end yet. Don't let it bother you, relax and keep on goin
- Michael C. Muhammad

"I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing."
� Rabbi Hillel

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